Zeroing in…..

….well, or trying, at least! Enjoying the journey. Loving watercolor more as I go. And I’m learning so much from this July challenge exercise.  This is kind of a lagoon, was inspired by a photo I found in Google images….I will get to ocean paintings and surf eventually, I hope.

7 x 5
7 x 5″ 140 lb. Arches CP

It definitely takes lots of energy to paint every day.   Drawing every day is relaxing compared to painting.   The hardest part is deciding what to paint.   (I want to paint everything, of course, but it’s a matter of choosing something that I might be able to pull off, and in a very limited time span.)

I feel that my skies are slowly improving.   I’m trying to paint with much larger brushes (those recommended by Shari Blaukopf in her Craftsy course on Landscapes, which I feel is really helping me improve my landscape work), and I definitely think skies are easier to paint with a large brush.  The biggest adjustment for me is just realizing that soooo much more water comes to the paper than before, and so patience really comes into play, as I need to wait longer before diving in with the paint.

Colors (all M. Graham unless noted):  Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Viridian, Cobalt Teal, Hooker’s Green, Sap Green, Burnt Sienna, wn Raw Umber, cotman Cerulean.    As always, I welcome and appreciate your comments and suggestions for improvement.   I hope all of you have a creative and joyful Sunday!

44 thoughts on “Zeroing in…..

  1. Laura, watch your horizon – this one looks like it’s on the slope. Perhaps draw a light pencil line to work against.
    I think it’s a good move to use big brushes – you think you lose control, but if they have a good point they’re fine and they offer other advantages with colour mixing on the paper.
    I also wonder whether you are rushing to complete your work to get your post out. You could show a part painted picture and complete it the next day. Many will disagree with me, but rushing something just to get it out the way generally works against you – I speak from my own experience.

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    1. Graham, thanks for your time and feedback. I based this one on a photo from google images and when I drew it, in ink, I messed up the perspective. The horizon seemed to angle down to the left in the photo, because there was a treeline, and I guessed it was a lagoon…but something def got lost in the translation with the drawing. I wrecked another piece of paper trying a different ink sketch, and was in a hurry, so I just crossed my fingers and went with it. I paint at the end of the day, and you nailed it – I’m trying to get a post ready for the next day, which is why I’m rushing. I’m glad you mentioned this, because I’ve been wondering at the wisdom of doing this. At the same time though, as much as I’d like to try something bigger, not sure if I’m ready for that, and composition is a real weakness for me at this point. And I don’t want to post in stages. So I may need to rethink the whole posting every day thing. Thanks for the feedback and the food for thought!

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  2. …if only to demonstrate that there’s no single way to do things, the first impression to my eyes was how fun it was to see the horizon not straight for a change. It gives the piece a playfulness and feeling of truly being there on the beach, complimented by a sky with whimsical clouds and cherry red boat. The difference between a work done in a studio and a work done on the spot is usually the difference between the very serious and the very immediate. VanGogh’s sunflowers aren’t ‘studio perfect’. VanGogh wouldn’t have cared whether something looked true to correct dimensions, but rather whether the painting reflected the way he felt about the subject. And this painting has a feel of beach and summer and sun and family outing.

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    1. Thanks, Lance, for your feedback and perspective on this painting. I wish I could say I planned it to turn out exactly as you described because then it would feel more Iike a success. Everything I do for this blog is rushed because I post every day, and I’m starting to question the wisdom of doing that. Not sure I’m ready for a large, planned painting either (actually I’m almost positive I’m not ready for that), but it’s more important to post something I’m proud of than to post daily. I really appreciate your time and thought.

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  3. I love the advice above. I often rush too but when I have recently waited a while and went back I was so surprised at the effects. So hard to be patient. I like the top to have a couple projects going at once if you want to keep painting ! 😝. Happy day. From the beach!!!

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    1. Happy day to you too, Jodi, and have fun! I need to rethink this idea of keeping the blog fed. Trying to paint a quick painting every day just to post it for the blog is silly when it’s most likely headed for the dumpster in most cases, in part because it’s rushed. I think Graham made a great point. Glad you made it there safely – that must have been a long trek for you! 💜

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  4. This is really great! I love the perspective on the boat.

    It does look a little bit like it’s about to be swallowed by a tsunami though (at least to me). That may be because of the horizon, like Graham mentioned. I couldn’t really figure out why it was until I read that.

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      1. Lol, that’s all part of the process. It’s actually probably one of the most important parts. It’s nice having this little community where we can go through all of our growing pains together :).

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  5. good feedback from everyone! beginners, ok, We all find that pesky little thing called ‘patience’ a nuisance..but necessary. Laura your foreground texture is wonderful. nice and warm. The blue water, does recede back. Great! I know, that beginners feel so much pressure and can get discouraged. you’re doing well, transparency and brush use is great. perhaps softening some edges here and there? can help ‘anchor’ shapes & give flow. I’m impressed you practice and paint so much – by doing that – you’re making huge leaps ahead!!

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    1. Thanks, Debi. I do appreciate your time and comments. I really work on softening my edges, but I guess I missed a few. Thanks for pointing it out because it’s really hard to see things in something I created. I just get way too close to it. I’m at a real crossroads here because I’d like to paint every day, I don’t want to post stages of a painting on the blog….I do draw every day in my journal, but not sure readers will be interested in my husband’s and my hands and feet pretty much every day lol. And lots of pears. I’m rambling. Not sure I’m ready for a big painting either, and definitely struggling with the patience angle. Art really does teach us about life, doesn’t it? It’s so much more than paint puddles. Anyway, thanks again for your feedback.

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  6. I see we’re back to the argument about how “real” it should look. I agree with Lance and his Van Gogh comment. If you want a photo, take one (although as we all know those can be distorted too and are often better for it). A work of art stands on its own, I think, regardless of the source. The horizon here doesn’t bother me. My first thought was that I love the moodiness of it. And I still do! I’m particularly fond of the rendering of the beach. And in the end…it’s what you think that counts.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback (I assume this is Kerfe, but I’m never positive, so I hardly ever use your name). It’s great to get so many opinions; you are all helping me to find my way. I think you make great points here, and more good for thought. I have so much to learn! Trying to focus on one footstep vs the whole journey. I learn so much just by reading your comments and those of others. If I ever get to a place where I’m intentionally composing a painting, then I’d love to be the artist who intentionally breaks the rules. Something to put in the pot with the rest of the stew. Thank you. 😊

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  7. I love watercolors, too, though I’m not very good at it, I’m afraid. Oooh, I wonder if I have the Landscape Craftsy course yet (I’m really bad about buying lots of classes and then forgetting to watch them).

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        1. Thank you so much. You’re totally right, I really have come a long way from not being able to draw a bird outline this time last year. I really do appreciate the criticism too because I grow much more from that than praise. Praise is like dessert lol. :))

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  8. Wonderful discipline in painting everyday, whether a scene is completed or not, it’s the act of staying true to painting each day. You not only show that you’re serious about your development, but that you are gaining from the experience of your own painting and others advice given here. The community of support is awesome and amazing to read your response. Well done on the sand, you built light/shadows and depth – the more you do of these seascapes the more your techniques will be refined. Graham is right on the horizon – a big problem for me, until I realized the ruler that I was using had an every so slight curve (I mean really, lol) and I couldn’t figure out why my horizons were never straight. My husband bought me a t-ruler and problem solved. Best wishes 10 minutes a day or 1 hour, paint using whatever time you have and best of all enjoy it. Love seeing your progress ~ very cool Laura. Best wishes for an awesome week ahead.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary; your comments as always are greatly appreciated! The community here is amazing and I am shocked that a ruler wasn’t straight! Usually I am pretty fussy about my horizons but this time I went right in with a pen sketch, trying to get close to the photo and just went a bit awry, I guess. I like the fact that with each painting, I feel I’m learning so much. It really has been cool, and interesting what you said about ten minutes because I’ve been thinking that when my July challenge month is over, I don’t think I’ll stop painting. I do think I’ll want to continue doing it daily. I may have a different philosophy about a whole painting vs just working on a technique, but I’m pretty determined and I don’t think this’ll go away anytime soon! Thanks again.

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      1. Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often To Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist Paperback. Check this book out on Amazon – you may like it (334 reviews 5-star).

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  9. I encourage you to keep painting every day, Laura! I know when I did a bird a day, I didn’t like all I created but it put me in the practice of creating every day. And this is a good thing in my opinion! I wonder about posting every day too so I think it is fine to take a break. I like what Lance said about your painting. I think it also looks playful. Remember this is supposed to be FUN!!! Cheers Laura! 🎨😊🐚

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  10. I think Vic needs to take you to the beach on vacation so you can be inspired! I bet you would see lots of birds to add to your collection. Ha ha.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  11. Laura, bigger brushes are definitely useful as your paper gets larger. the rounds (as opposed to flats) hold more water. you can touch them to your paper towel, or towel, before touching the paper with them to get some excess liquid off of it. keep going!

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I’m still brand new to all of this (coming up on one year of being obsessed with art), but I’m determined to become a competent watercolorist. It’s why I draw every day, it’s at the center of everything for me. I’m really determined to do it! I appreciate your encouragement. 💜

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